Thursday, September 10, 2009

Is It Time To Move On From Apple?

By Benedict Wee

I woke up 75 minutes eariler than I normally do today because I was reading (and reporting) live updates about Apple's Rock and Roll iPod event. Why? Being a gadget lover and an Apple supporter will do this to you and I was really excited at the imminent announcement of a camera/microphone built-in iPod Touch which would essentially make the most-carried around device I use quadruple up as a point and shoot camera, camcorder and VoIP phone.

However that announcement never came. At first I thought maybe it was the lack of sleep making me miss the "iPod Touch with camera and microphone" segment, after all the rumors were fortified with a bazillion pictures of cases with holes in them right? Wrong. All we get is double the storage space and an upgrade of its processor. At the end of the event it was the iPod nano that made its built-in camera debut and even then it was disappointing as it would only be able to shoot videos.

So after taking a nap to make up for loss sleep I decided that to recap the past three months since the similarly disappointing WWDC event and I came to the conclusion that it might be time to move on from purchasing Apple products. Here are the main reasons why.

They're jerks:
Intense and Nazi-like security measures of your manufacturing company overseas (which admitted to breaking labour laws) that cause an employee to commit suicide when he lost a prototype, secretive and draconian policies when deciding what you'll allow in your App Store then pulling it with no reason or warning thereby frustrating both developers and users alike to the point that the US government has to step in, trying to silence people when the gadgets you made explode and endanger lives by only offering a replacement coupled with an iron-clad confidential agreement, making dumb statements such as hacking your devices would give rise to terrorism etc. cement Apple as first-class asswipes, not to mention the huge tsunami-size load of bad karma you bring home with you when you've purchased a product from them.

A detailed list can be found here.

They're also behind the times/lazy/greedy:
I had to live without FM radio for about 5 years now since iPods never came with them and I grinned and bore it when the iPhone 3G retained its 2MP camera. Because Apple said so, I was willing to believe that the features they omitted from their products were because they found that it wasn't necessary and no one wanted them (except for me).

However after a couple of years of blindly following them I realized that certain patterns emerged. They once said that no one wanted video on a tiny screen but then released the iPod Video the following year, they said no one wanted flash-based players but then they launched the Shuffle and then they said no one wanted FM radios in their PMP but their latest Nano announced today comes with the feature.

It seems like Apple wants to artificially hold back on the development of their gadgets in order to sell as many iterations of the same device. The iPhone 3G was the same iPhone as its first generation counterpart with a 3G connection and the iPhone 3GS is the 3G with video recording capabilities and a compass. So the iPhone they're going to announce next year will come with... a radio tuner? Instead of making leaps and bounds in their technology like the rest of the electronic manufacturers do they make only minor improvements with the knowledge that chances are we'd be giving it up to buy a newer version one year later. This creates a never ending cycle of drones who buy Apple's slightly-improved products over and over, hoping that the next time they will come up with something revolutionary.

So there you go, some very valid reasons on why it is time to move on from Apple. I guess it's a good time as any considering there is a huge selection of gadgets available in the market that is cheaper and constantly increasing in numbers. One of the main reasons I stayed with Apple was because they streamlined personal data (i.e. music, contacts and email) for me but with Google's Android OS appearing on everything from smartphones and budget mobiles, to Personal Media Players (PMPs), to tablets, to televisions etc. the obsessive compulsive side of me is sated in terms of having an account that organizes everything across devices. (Link to a list of Android devices here)

As for which portable player I'll be buying this year, there are many better alternatives to iPods hitting the market soon which means you can look to them for all-in-one devices packed with the latest technology. PMPs such as Creative's Zii Egg which runs Android might have a funny sounding name but it comes with dual-cameras, 1080p HD output, GPS and 3D hardware graphics acceleration and the Android Market to download applications from.

The Zii Egg

This is not to say I'm saying goodbye forever. If Apple cleans up their act and come up with something revolutionary that got me as excited as I was when they first announced the iPhone I just might go back and buy stuff from them. But until then, consider my membership to the house of Apple cancelled.

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